Programmed Narcissism

Lately, I’ve become painfully aware of how narcissistic people (including me) can be.

Our entire society has developed into a culture of narcissism. Everything is super customizable to fit “you.” Ads are often marketed with the purpose of allowing you to express your individuality. You can customize laptops to have a kind of pattern you want, you can have a tacky credit card with some random picture, and vanity plates, I can’t even deal with vanity plates (do you really need to have “2fast4u” on the back of your car?)

really?

really?

Social media is the ultimate narcissistic tool because we incessantly post things about our lives: statuses, pictures, videos – and even though you may say you don’t care about “likes” I don’t believe you. Maybe you’re not counting every follower on your instagram account or obsessing over each like on your facebook status but there is a certain feeling of validation, acceptance, or affirmation that comes with receiving a “like.” But why? How often do you find yourself mindlessly liking things on others’ instas or facebooks or retweeting random tweets. Do you generally take a second to absorb what they’re saying and decide whether or not you want to like it? Or do you take a glimpse at it and like it out of habit? I definitely fall into the second category and I’m sure most others do too. So why is it that a “like” makes us feel instantly more connected?

mandatory accompanying selfie

mandatory accompanying selfie

With all of this false connectedness and customizable everything, I think we are getting more and more obsessed with being “an individual” instead of a community. I didn’t join instagram to look at other people’s pictures, I joined to post my own. I scroll through my feed when I’m bored. But I only get excited when I see a little notification pop up that meant someone approves of me. I don’t get excited when I see a picture of someone else. I just mindlessly like it. And they get a little rush of excitement because someone is validating their existence. IT’S ALL SO CYCLICAL AND MUNDANE.

With all this customization and social media I’ve also noticed I’ve become more obsessed with how I look and how I present myself. We have let people have constant access to us via social media. And everything is a reflection of us. Our phone case, twitter background, ig description, pencil case, and THE SELFIE. It’s like we have suddenly become all about “showing the world who we are.” But when everyone is focused on showing their individuality in such superficial ways, no one else is taking the time to appreciate anyone else’s individuality but theirs.

The more we are given tools to “connect” with people and present “who we really are” via things and possessions, the less meaningful our friendships and our identity really become. Our social life happens more on the internet than in person. And our identity is centred on our twitter or blog or instagram rather than a deep understanding of ourselves. The superficial is becoming the meaningful and it’s kind of scary.

Did any of this make sense to you? It’s been pre-occupying me so I had to get it out. Let me know what you think!